Q: Describe the type of DEI work you do out in the community.
A: For my master’s program at IU, I focused on my personal brand Fatness Fiction — which centers on body diversity and positivity by challenging people to go beyond what they already assume of someone because of how they look.

To push this conversation further, I used my work as a photographer to bring body positivity and diversity through the lens. Recently, I did an exhibition with the Cultural Arts Gallery to highlight my work and engage with the community on this topic. 

I’ve also taught at multiple universities and hosted summits centered around DEI. My PhD studies, job and research all align, and I think that’s where I have my benefit. All of it informs and integrates into each other, so I’m never away from this work.

Q: Describe your DEI work within Student Affairs.
A: Since starting as the director, I’ve developed a Critical Conversations and DEI Certificate series, been involved with the division's strategic plan and its dedication to DEI and engaged in difficult conversations daily to support and hold Student Affairs staff accountable with our values.

DEI is important beyond just what popular culture may say. It actually has real consequences and outcomes depending on how we engage. We're critically trying to make change. And to do that, how are we showing up in these spaces both at the university and in the community?

Congratulations on this recognition, Ellise! Learn more about United Way’s ELEVATE.